Family who lost son to sports injury spotlights importance of AEDs after Hamlin cardiac arrest
First responders used an automated external defibrillator when Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest Monday night. The AED is a lifesaving device one Long Island family pushed for all schools to have on the sidelines.
Karen Acompora was with her husband when they were watching their son's first high school lacrosse game in March of 2000. Louis blocked the ball with his chest, a blow from which he would never recover.
“Louis didn't have a chance because there was no AED on the field,” Acompora says.
The Acompora family urged then-Gov. George Pataki in 2002 to sign Louis's Law, requiring schools to have AEDs.
Acompora says this law has since saved countless lives.
“It’s surreal that this kind of incident would happen on a national stage like that,” Acompora says.
Cardiologists say when the heart takes a hit like that, time is of the essence and can be the difference between life and death.
Northwell Health cardiologist Dr. Adam Auerbach says the success of how early they treated Hamlin could determine how quickly he can recover.
“The faster you start CPR, the faster that you can get an AED up on a patient, assess the rhythm and treat it, the better the outcomes are,” he says.
Acompora says incidents like this remind her that the work she's doing in her son's memory will help save many more lives.
“We look at every survivor as a blessing, and we count our blessings, and we really do and it helps. It's bittersweet, but we are a family who truly believes that Louis was put here for a reason, and this is it,” she says.
Doctors say the chance of survival drops by 10% for every minute that passes and defibrillation is not provided.